The actress discussed her experience with depression and suicidal thoughts.
“Jane the Virgin” actress Gina Rodriguez opened up about her struggles with anxiety and suicidal thoughts during a talk with NBC correspondent Kate Snow at The Kennedy Forum in Chicago last week.
During the conversation, Rodriquez told Snow — who lost her father-in-law to suicide — that she started dealing with depression around age 16.
“I started dealing with the idea of that same concept that I think your husband was talking about,” Rodriguez told Snow. “Everything is going to be better when I’m gone. Life will be easier, all the woes will be away, all the problems. Then I wouldn’t have to fail or succeed, right? Then all this surmounting pressure would go away. It would just go away.”
However, no one in Rodriquez’s family spoke about mental health when she was growing up, she said. Consequently, she didn’t feel comfortable opening up about how she felt.
Now, Rodriguez hopes to teach young people about the benefits of therapy and let them know it’s important to talk about their mental health.
“It has to be a part of the conversation I have with these young girls. I can’t just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez is one of many celebrities who recently shared what it’s like to struggle with mental health.
In April, actress Sophie Turner revealed that she experienced depression throughout the filming of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Singer Billie Eilish has also been open about battling depression.
In a recent video for the Ad Council’s “Seize the Awkward” PSA, the singer discussed her own mental health struggles and reminded people that it doesn’t make you weak to ask for help.
Like Rodriguez, both Turner and Eilish hope that by speaking about their issues, they can help change people’s attitudes about mental health.
“When public figures — especially ones who society respects — open up about their struggles with mental health, it becomes easier for [other] citizens to do the same,” said Dr. Bryan Bruno, a psychiatrist with Lenox Hill Hospital.
Furthermore, hearing celebrities speak to their recoveries can help shed light on the benefits of treatment and motivate people to get help.
“While depression manifested differently in each of them, their stories unanimously confirmed the importance of getting treatment for depression,” Bruno added.
In general, people put off or fail to get treatment for depression or anxiety due in part to society’s stigma surrounding mental health.
According to Bruno, because mental illnesses aren’t as visible as physical illnesses are, people often treat them as a choice rather than a disease.
Additionally, many people may not seek out help because they’re afraid of appearing vulnerable and fear that asking for help could make them seem weak.
“Stigma persists as a primary barrier to mental health treatment, and is known to thwart effective and timely access to care,” said Dr. Rebecca Bernert, a suicidologist and the founding director of the Suicide Prevention Research Laboratory with Stanford Health Care.
The more people talk about mental health — especially those in the public eye — the quicker we can destigmatize mental illness, health experts say.
“With increased exposure to mental health issues comes improved knowledge of mental illnesses and treatments options, knowledge of appropriate support strategies, and confidence in providing engagement and support to individuals with mental illness,” said Mayra Mendez, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist and program coordinator for intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health services at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center.
The media plays a crucial role in communicating the importance of mental health treatment, she added.
Advocacy can also help correct any harmful misconceptions or myths about mental health.
“Depression knows no age, gender, social, or economic boundaries,” Bernert said.
It’s a medical condition, and it can be effectively treated with psychotherapy, group therapy, voluntary hospitalization, or medications.
Those who undergo treatment are more likely to experience productive and satisfying lives, Mendez said. Seeking help for mental health isn’t a weakness, it can be a sign of strength, empowerment, and perseverance.
If you are in crisis or are concerned about a loved one, help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 873-TALK, or by texting the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741 in the United States). All helplines offer free, confidential support 24 hours a day.
“Jane the Virgin” actress Gina Rodriguez recently opened up about her struggles with anxiety and suicidal thoughts. The actress is one of many celebrities who hopes to change people’s attitudes about mental health and break down the stigma surrounding it. Stigma continues to be a primary barrier to mental health treatment, and public figures can help shed light on the importance of treatment.